It’s the age-old question that gives every youth pastor a deer in the headlights look, “What do you do all day?”
There have been many times where my students, family, and even wife, have asked me this question. And it never fails; I don’t give the same answer twice. The truth about a youth pastor’s day is that it’s a lot of little things that add up into one big thing. Plus, even when you do finish one task, there always seems to another one waiting, so you never feel like you ever accomplished anything.
As youth pastors, we have to be faithful with the time God has allotted us to accomplish his work. Of course, this is easier said than done, and sometimes we waste more time than we should; however, if we learn to use our time wisely, we won’t always feel like we’re behind. Now as a disclaimer, I already know everyone has different task they have to accomplish, and how I do my day may not work for you, but what I hope to accomplish is to give you some nuggets to think about to help you create your own process that works for you.
So here are four things you can make a day out of for your workweek:
Papers, papers, and more papers! Printing off worksheets, working on dates for the calendar, and keeping track of students who have attended your programs can eat up your time. So I decided to give one day to taking care of all the administration stuff no one likes to do. So if you have phone calls you need to make, letters to write, or meetings you need to attend, schedule them on this day. If you’re not sure what day to make your administration day, just make it the same day as your weekly staff meeting, because it keeps it all together.
You’re either writing out bible studies or looking over curriculum you purchased; either way, you need ample time to study and prepare. This is what bible study day is for, so you can give God’s Word the time it deserves. Furthermore, use this time to familiarize yourself with the lesson your Sunday school teacher or small group leader will be teaching. You never know when you may have to step in for them. Plus, use this day to determine future bible studies for your students. I’ll write more about how to stay on top of bible studies in a future post.
I know not all of us have some type of midweek worship service, but a majority of youth pastors do. If that’s you, than you need a day to get ready for it. Use this day to put the final touches on your bible study, last minute sound checks, or to set out chairs. Also, give yourself a little extra time to relax and spend time with the family. Midweek services can take a lot of our energy, and we usually go home later than normal, so make sure you’re refreshed for the nights activities.
I hate to call a day miscellaneous, but this day is not meant for random activities, but to focus on other roles you have to accomplish in your church. If you don’t have other roles to accomplish, use this day to evaluate the week, get ready for Sunday, accomplish task you weren’t able to get to at the beginning of the week, or to work on task you know you have to accomplish for the next week. No one ever said you can’t get ahead of your work.
Finally, there are two things you need to do everyday to have a successful week: spending time with God and being flexible. There is no excuse for any of us to not give our time for spiritual growth. Give one hour each day focused on prayer, bible study, and reading other books that challenge your faith. Second, your day will never go the way you want it to. As much as I want a day that focuses on administration or bible study, there will always be students that need my love, tasks my pastor needs me to accomplish, or emergencies that come up. Embrace flexibility, because ministry is full of things you never saw coming.
Do you think these types of days are a good way to spend your week? If not, why?
What else would you add to the list?